Looking GLOBE-ally

    The Challenge

    Analyze and/or display data to communicate interesting findings or improve public understanding of our home planet.


    With the GLOBE Observer app, NASA collects data from citizen scientists around the world who are looking at clouds, mosquito habitats, and land cover. These data have the potential to be displayed or used in concert with NASA satellite data to identify or communicate information, and to educate the public about planet Earth.

    For example, linking “ground observations” (observations made by citizen scientists at ground level) of clouds to satellite observations provides a unique perspective, allowing us to see atmospheric processes from two very different viewpoints.

    As another example of citizen science in action, data on mosquito occurrence can be linked with environmental information gathered through remote sensing to predict where else mosquitoes are likely to be found. This information can be useful for public health officials wishing to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, like malaria and Zika virus fever.

    What ways can you analyze and/or display NASA data to communicate interesting findings or improve public understanding of our home planet? This could include technical platforms like apps and/or websites, but it also could include creative uses like games, images, or videos!

    Potential Considerations

    • The data collected from citizen scientists consist of photographs as well as descriptive information – for example, type of clouds, percentage cloud cover, type of mosquito habitat, percentage of land covered by trees, etc. Each observation has a latitude/longitude location. The different types of data may need to be displayed in different ways
    • The GLOBE Visualization System and the GLOBE Advanced Data Access Tool contain data from all protocols in the GLOBE Program, not just those collected via the GLOBE Observer app. You will find the layer for Clouds under the Atmosphere section, Mosquito Habitat Mapper under Hydrosphere, and Land Cover under Biosphere. Feel free to explore the other types of data if you wish.
    • The data summary for data points on individual clouds in the GLOBE Visualization System will have a link to a satellite matching page, which indicates if a match was made. Other useful types of data (plus examples of satellite sources – see Resources for the locations of data) to compare to the citizen science ground observations include:
    • Clouds: Cloud Fraction (Aqua/MODIS, Terra/MODIS)
    • Mosquito Habitat Mapper: Precipitation (GPM/IMERG), Soil Moisture (SMAP), Vegetation (Landsat, Terra/MODIS), Surface Temperature (Aqua/AIRS)
    • Land Cover: Vegetation (Landsat, Terra/MODIS),
    • Feel free to think creatively! An example application could create a game where individuals test their ability to know an environment based on viewing it from space. The game would give players a choice of images gathered from the land cover app and an optical remote sensing image. Can players pick the correct image associated with that location? This application would help the public connect with satellite imagery and could also gather data on locations that are frequently misidentified. This capability could be used to outline future educational needs or identify images that have been incorrectly logged in the GLOBE App.

    Examples of Resources

    GLOBE Data Sources

    • GLOBE Observer App: https://observer.globe.gov, and downloadable from the App Store and Google Play. It’s not necessary to download the app to complete this challenge, but collecting some data yourself may be helpful.
    • GLOBE Visualization System: https://vis.globe.gov. Displays GLOBE data on a map, and allows you to look at detailed information about individual data points. Also allows downloading of data tables of an entire layer or a selected subset of a layer. At the moment, this is the only way to access photos taken as part of data collection, which must currently be done for each data point individually.
    • GLOBE Advanced Data Access Tool: https://datasearch.globe.gov. This tool allows you to find and retrieve GLOBE data using several different search parameters. You will be presented a summary of sites that have data available based on your search parameters. From those sites, you can further refine your search and/or download the data into a CSV file for detailed analysis. A summary CSV file is also available that summarizes the data available for each site.
    • Tutorials for retrieving and visualizing your data: https://www.globe.gov/get-trained/using-the-globe-website/retrieve-and-visualize-your-data.

    Satellite Data Sources:

    NASA Logo

    SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.